Intel Corp. on Wednesday announced plans to invest $100 million directly into U.S. university research over the next 5 years to drive innovations in computing and communications. The company will open Intel Science and Technology Centers across multiple universities throughout the year and will therefore control the research projects and targets, which will be rather practical than fundamental.
The centers will focus on projects in select technology areas that align with the company's research agenda including visual computing, mobility, security and embedded solutions. This new model is expected to result in U.S. researchers receiving up to five times more funding from Intel Labs when compared to the previous approach.
Until now, Intel Labs ran open collaboration centers near research universities and a substantial portion of the company's funding focused on operating, maintaining and staffing these facilities. The new centers will be Intel-funded and jointly led by Intel and university researchers. They are designed to provide more dollars in the hands of researchers, and to encourage tighter collaboration between academic thought leaders in essential technology areas such as visual computing, security and mobile computing. For maximum flexibility, Intel will be able to tune its research agenda across the research centers over time. Intel plans to invite proposals from the academic community to continue pursuing the creation of additional Intel Science and Technology Centers.
"Intel Labs has long been a significant investor in university research and this program is the next step in that critical investment. The pace of technology change is getting faster. With today's announcement we are ensuring that Intel Labs' academic research support is adaptable and flexible. Our new approach should allow us to quickly and dynamically invest in the most promising academic work," said Justin Rattner, Intel's chief technology officer.
As an initial step, Intel Labs also announced that Stanford University will be the hub for the first center, which will focus on improving visual computing experiences for consumers and professionals. Researchers at Stanford will collaborate with a community of researchers from seven other universities. The recently introduced Intel Sandy Bridge processor with combined visual and 3D graphics will be a key R&D platform for researchers to develop innovations which improve the quality and the way images are captured or created, manipulated or interpreted and ultimately displayed to the viewer.
"Stanford is honored to be chosen as the host university for the initial ISTC. This is an exciting new model that will have huge impact on the future of computing. Stanford looks forward to working with Inteland our network of seven other universities, to bring exciting new visual computing experiences to the computer user," said Pat Hanrahan, the lead academic principal investigator for the ISTC-VC.